Taco Sauce

5 from 9 votes
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This homemade taco sauce is so delicious and can be made with simple ingredients from your pantry. Forget store bought, this sauce can be made quickly and lasts for several weeks. 

If you like to make sauce at home be sure to try this copycat Chick-Fil-A sauce, tartar sauce and cocktail sauce

Taco sauce in a jar with tacos in back

Why make it instead of buy it?

Have you ever looked at the back of some jarred and canned foods to see ingredients you’ve never heard of?

That’s why I enjoy making things like this taco sauce at home. You control the ingredients going in and can adjust to your family’s taste. 

It’s also very cost effective. A jar at the store is can be 2-3 dollars and this is less than a dollar to make. This recipe makes enough to use for several meals and is also great to use for meal prep. 

What is the difference between salsa and taco sauce?

Taco sauce is typically ingredients like spices and tomato sauce that is cooked to let the flavors come together.

Salsa usually uses fresh ingredients and is not cooked. 

Ingredients needed

Tomato Sauce – Use a 16 oz can of plain tomato sauce.

Vinegar – This recipe calls for white vinegar but feel free to substitute with apple cider vinegar.

Spices – Cumin, onion powder, garlic salt, chili powder, paprika, sugar, cayenne. 

How to make taco sauce

Scroll to the bottom for full printable recipe, ingredients and video. 

This sauce is so easy to put together. 

  1. Mix: Pour water, vinegar, tomato sauce and spices in a medium saucepan. Stir together until combined.
  2. Simmer: Cook over low heat for approximately 15 minutes. Make sure to occasionally stir to prevent burning. 
  3. Serve: You can serve warm or let cool and store in jar until ready to use. 

Pot with water, tomato sauce, vinegar and spices

How to store

Store: Once it’s cooked, take it off the heat and let the sauce cool down. I like to store mine in jars. Keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. 

Freeze: This sauce can also be frozen. Pour in an airtight, freezer safe bag and freeze for 3-4 months. 

Uses for taco sauce

There are many wonderful recipes that this sauce compliments. It tastes similar to Ortega and Taco Bell taco sauce so you can use it like you would for those or it’s also a good substitute for salsa.  

Jar of sauce with wooden spoon

Recipe tips

  • The cayenne pepper does add a little heat to the sauce so if you don’t like spicy, omit the cayenne. If you like it really spicy, add a little more. 
  • Try adding a splash of lime juice for a fresh flavor.
  • Make a double batch so you have some for the week and some in the freezer for later.

More Mexican inspired recipes

*** If you made this recipe, please feel free to comment and leave a star rating below.

Jar with red sauce.
5 from 9 votes

Taco Sauce

By Heather
This homemade taco sauce is way better than store bought and with no weird ingredients.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 cups


  • 1 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Pour water, tomato sauce, vinegar and spices into a medium saucepan. Heat over low heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Let cook and serve.


YouTube video


Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1221mg | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1370IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
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Recipe Rating


  1. This is my second batch. I love it! I usually modify some ingredients in recipes but this one is spot-on and needs no tweaking. This is exactly what I was searching for as I am cleaning up the foods and condiments that I serve my family. Thank you for sharing and keeping this simple!

  2. 5 stars
    This is great! Loved the flavor and loved the fact it doesn’t have any yucky preservatives! Freezing some for later.

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for the tip about freezing this! Such a great idea to always have this on hand for Taco Tuesday all year long.